The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Black seeds, AKA, Nigella Sativa, AKA, black caraway, AKS Black cumin, AKA Kettzah, AKA Kollunji, etc etc

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

Black seeds, AKA, Nigella Sativa, AKA, black caraway, AKS Black cumin, AKA Kettzah, AKA Kollunji, etc etc

I have been using those black seeds on my bread as topping for many years..  I always wonder why it is not more popular in the US.


Those seeds are available at any Mediterranean or Indian food stores. Those seeds give an amazing aroma and flavor to the breads, especially to sourdogh bread.


has any one else try those?


 


for a photo of my bread with teh back seeds check out http://www.litman.com/food/bread.html


for more information about the seeds at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa


 


Arie

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I tried nigella seed in a bread recipe, I thought it gave a taste that I can only describe as "musty".  I think it's an acquired taste.

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

I use it on the outside of the bread, where it has a chance to roast a bit during baking.. I find it yummy.. :) 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

but so far no luck. I don't want to mail order for such a small thing, but perhaps when I visit "the big city".

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

in Mediterranean stores it is called black cumin or black caraway. In Indian food stores its called Kallunjy (Kaloonjy), or sometimes black onion seeds.. .


 


 

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I have used black sesame seeds in some breads. I get them at a food coop type store. I also just picked up some green fennel but haven't tried those yet. I don't know if they are green because they are fresh or just a different variety. Most of them in stores here are brown.

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

they are black in color..

clazar123's picture
clazar123

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html


You can mail order them from Penzys Spices.

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

At Penzey's its called Charnushka

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I use Nigella on flatbreads, such as focaccia, and I really like the taste they give.


Jeremy

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

They are almost essential as a sprinkle on top of yeast based naan bread where their presence lifts the flavour beautifully.


John

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


I know Black Cumin as Kala Jeera, or, Kashmiri Jeera in the Continental Food Stores in UK.   See: http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Buni_per.html


Black Onion Seeds are a different spice, known as Kalonji; they are used as a pickling spice primarily in the panch phoran [5 spice blend], and also associated with Bengali fish and vegetable dishes.   More of an acquired taste, definitely; but I really like them in curries.   Not so sure about breads in such large quantities, but the odd one in a fluffy naan bread works well.   See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunium_persicum


Not that Wikipedia is always correct, but I think this is right on this occasion


Best wishes


Andy

ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

I bought some nigella seeds from Amazon to try.  The package says "Spicy World, Our Premium, Fresh, KALONJI,  (Nigella Seeds)".  The seeds are quite aromatic, with a scent oddly reminiscent of fresh shavings from sharpening a wooden pencil.  (My wife said "reminds me of pencil leads").  I mixed some into a batch of dough and they gave it more or less the same scent/flavor. Nigella seeds mixed into the dough is not something I plan to do regularly; it may be an acquired taste but acquiring it would be difficult for me. 

Of course almost everybody else puts these seeds on the bread, not in it. Perhaps that produces better flavor.  I have plenty, so I'll try it that way.

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Well I m not sure about Andy's remarks but I don't think the Wiki article is correct, just about everything I have looked at calls kalongi,  black cumin. The thing is I did not say in my previous reply that they are also excellent mixed into the dough of leaven naan. Propably great also in unleaven but I have never made that, I cannot find  a recipe, not for the want of looking!

Regards, John

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Dear Andy

You really shouldn't be making definitive statements about matters botanical when there are actual professionals around. :)

Nigella is not even closely related to onions or, for that matter, cumin. It is a member of the Buttercup family.

The popular garden variety is called Nigella damascena, sometimes known in English as Love-in-a-mist. (I don't have much truck with common names, for obvious reasons.) Nigella sativa, a closely related species native to India and South Asia, is the source of kalonji.

None of which changes its taste in breads, which I love.

Jeremy

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

As the one who started this thread, let me chime is. 

Nigella Sativa is referred to in many names around the world, and to top it of, when those names get translated to English they make no sense and it gets even more confusing.

I know those seeds as Ketzach (Hebrew קצח) and in the Indian food store I shop for the seeds I find them as Kolonji/"Onion Seeds", and I know those are not Onion Seeds. In Middle Eastern foods stores I find those as Black Caraway, or Black Cumin, and again, those are neither.. 

The confusion stems from the fact that Nigella Sativa seeds have no English (culinary) name.  
At the spices wholesale store they refer to it as Nigella, which is is an OK name, at least you know what you are getting.

Now back to the bread, I do not put the seeds in the dough, I put them on the outside of the bread, and let them get toasted a bit. They taste better toasted, and in the process perfume the bread (and the whole house) with their aroma.

Since I start my bread at a very hot oven, I spray to bread (and the seeds) with water a few minutes before the bread goes in the oven, the water wets the seeds and protect the seeds from toasting too much (burning).. 

 

Arie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

I've been doing a bit of internet searching and concluded that these seeds have a long history of being used as an herbal medicine, particularly in the middle east and india, to cure everything from headaches to snakebite.  "They're useful for treating every malady short of death!  Got erectile dysfunction or intestinal worms?  Step right up, we got the got what you need right here!  Psoriasis?  High blood pressure?  Got your cure right here!"   (That's my snakeoil salesman imitation.)

These seeds are from the Nigella Sativa plant.  They have a very long history (at least as far back as biblical times and the pyramids) and they go by lots of different names in different countries and different languages.  They're NOT cumin, caraway, or onion seeds, although apparently the USDA does call them "black cumin".  There's enough herbal medicine lore out there to warrant caution in using them in anything more than moderate amounts for cooking,  perhaps particularly for folks taking blood pressure drugs.

LInks:

http://www.kalonji-oil.com/

http://www.kitchendoctor.com/herbs/black_cumin.php

ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

Oops, posted the same thing twice by accident, deleting content of second post to avoid sounding repetitious (even iuf I am).

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jeremy,

I am more than happy to admit to my lack of botanical knowledge, and apologise for making definitive and wrong statements.

I actually had no idea that Kalonji were not "black onion seeds", as this is how they are sold in the UK "Continental Food Stores".   So, sincerely, I am sorry.

I would, of course, be happy if you could confirm that Kala Jeera, or, Kasmiri Jeera are completely different from Kalonji.

I'm afraid my experience only allows me to approach the post from a culinary angle.   And in the UK food stores, these spices are labelled and sold as 2 very different ingredients.   Their flavours and aromas are not at all alike.

Best wishes

Andy 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

One reason why Latin names are important is that they ensure that we are all talking about the same thing.

I cannot be certain about Kala jeera, not having grown it. It definitely is not the same as Kalonji.

Some sources refer to Kala jeera as Bunium persicum. I have grown other species of Bunium, but not that one. It is, at least, in the same botanical family as cumin, which includes fennel, caraway, dill, parsley, coriander and other well-known spices, but more than that I cannot say.

Jeremy

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I bought some Nigella seeds as they were suggested as a substitute for caraway in rye bread.  I got them from Penzeys and they were called Charnushka seeds.  I don't like the raw flavor and aroma, so I've been reluctant to try them in bread, but perhaps I will sprinkle them on the outside of some bread to try.  Meanwhile, I've learned to like caraway in my rye ;o)